State Street Takes a Stand Against Racism

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State Street Takes a Stand Against Racism

Championing strong communities and values is vital to State Street, one of the leading global providers of financial services to institutional investors, headquartered in Boston. Diversity and inclusion are intrinsic to State Street’s values that guide how they conduct business, develop their workforce and care for local communities. “Inclusion and diversity is about working to bring the right people to the table so that we can have the best outcomes for ourselves, for our clients and our community. We want everyone to feel they can add value to the fabric of what we’re trying to do,” says Paul Francisco, chief diversity officer and head of State Street’s workforce development program.

10 Actions to Address Racism and Inequality

In July 2020, Ron O’Hanley, State Street’s chairman and chief executive officer, announced 10 Actions to combat racism and inequality through measurable tenets that are part of their global plan to become a leader in promoting greater equity in the industry and local communities. The 10 Actions aim to triple Black and Latinx senior leadership and double the percentage of those populations at all levels of the organization by addressing development and advancement programs, governance models, community outreach and philanthropy. In addition, the 10 Actions look to strengthen supplier diversity programs and seek to improve diversity in the company’s board of directors.

As part of their commitment to effecting real change through the 10 Actions, the organization has established a new Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Council, chaired by Ron who oversees its progress.

Walking the Talk

Some of the results that have already been achieved include adding new members to the company’s board of directors and issuing US$850 million-worth senior subordinated bonds using an underwriting syndicate made up equally of banks and Black- and Latinx-owned companies. In addition, State Street has committed to providing approximately US$6 million in grants to relevant nonprofit organizations and has established new partnerships with professional development-focused organizations to improve diverse representation across the company and the financial industry.

The 10 Actions also guide the shifting culture in the organization and heeding to employee voices. “The 10 Actions will become the basis of how we think about the organization, our talent and how we create a better sense of belonging,” says Paul Frnacisco. Since rolling out the 10 Actions, the organization has launched a variety of in-person forums and expanded online training courses for employees. Discussions around racism and inequality were amplified by leadership teams, managers, employee networks and allies throughout State Street, as they facilitated candid conversations with more than two-thirds of employees about the insidious nature of racism.

In December 2020, State Street launched a voluntary self-identification effort to encourage employees to self-identify their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, preferred pronouns, and disability and veteran status, where allowed by local laws. This voluntary data will help provide a clearer picture of progress toward building a more diverse and inclusive organization.

Employee Voices

“Our leadership has taken a strong and public stance in support of the Black community after George Floyd’s murder, and in support of the Asian community with the surge of unjust hate crimes,” says Natalye Kennedy, vice president for the Equity Sales BestX team in New York. She has 20 years of experience in global financial services across client service, relationship management, sales, risk and operations, project management, business management and process improvement. Throughout her career at State Street, Natalye has had a passion for inclusion and diversity and has led the Latin American Professionals Group and Black Professionals Group for the New York office.

Natalye is actively involved in working groups formulated around one of the 10 Actions called Developing Internal Talent and has played a pivotal role in helping launch State Street’s Share HER Voice vision. Natalye, who partnered with the Professional Women’s Network and the Black Professional Group, has worked to amplify the voices of Black women employees by sharing their stories, experiences and career success at State Street to increase their visibility within the organization.

“The 10 Actions demonstrate our focus on the changes we must make internally and externally to bring about a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace, community and industry. Being part of such important work is a legacy I want to leave for employees just starting their careers at State Street,” says Natalye.

10 Actions Resonate Globally

Although State Street is headquartered in Boston, the 10 Actions program has been designed to impact the organization’s offices across the globe. “The anti-racism movement started in the United States but racism truly is a global issue and the work born from the 10 Actions reflect that,” says Sheila Moazzami, vice president located in London. Sheila, who joined State Street in 2014, is a State Street AlphaSM Client Implementation lead and co-chair of the Race and Ethnicity Network. Her personal experiences led her to join the action focused on developing an internal talent workstream, and co-lead the talent and performance management, promotions and manager training sub-workstream. “As an ethnic minority in the country where I live and was born, I have never truly felt like I belonged. I know first-hand about the emotional distress and the resulting health consequences and want to do everything I can to help protect others from that,” Sheila says.

Natasha Persad, vice president in the client services department in Dublin and co-chair of the Diversity, Disability and Ethnicity network in Ireland, became involved in one of the actions focused on building partnerships with external organizations. “As a woman of color in the competitive field of finance, I choose to work in a company that respects, recognizes and embraces all of my differences. At State Street I feel accepted, encouraged and proud to be a part of a community that is committed to their diversity goals. Our 10-step action plan is to address racism and bias across the globe in our industry. The part that I have been encouraged to play in it has made me proud to be a part of this organization,” concludes Natasha.

You can read more about the 10 Actions here.

Ready to make your mark? Learn more about career opportunities in finance and technology at State Street here

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